Emma Hayes is looking forward to taking on Arsenal in a London derby during Women’s Football Weekend.

With men’s domestic fixtures on hold for the international break, this weekend has been dedicated to the women’s game in England, with every Women’s Super League fixture broadcast live on television for the first time.

The weekend’s fixtures also include several high-profile derby matches. In addition to our capital clash with Arsenal on Sunday, Manchester United face Manchester City, while Birmingham City and Aston Villa meet in the WSL for the first time.

‘The work that’s gone on behind the scenes, especially of everybody in the Women’s FA, to put together a package of games over the weekend that will see a feast of football for women’s football fans up and down the country and culminating in top games, not only between us and Arsenal, but also the Manchester derby, I think is the stuff that we’ve worked so hard to achieve,’ said Hayes.

‘So I’m looking forward to seeing the broadcasting numbers and the quality on the pitch because I think without men’s football this weekend it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase ourselves.’

With the spotlight firmly on the WSL this weekend, Hayes was happy to report that she will have close to a full squad to pick from for the fixture away at the Gunners, with no new injury problems to report.

‘Fran [Kirby] is still not far away. I think she’ll miss this weekend but I can see her coming back with the group probably the back end of next week. Other than that I think I’ve got a fully fit squad to pick from this weekend, bar Drew [Spence] and Hannah [Blundell], who have been out with longer-term injuries.’

Of course, in addition to the added profile provided by Women’s Football Weekend, clashes between Chelsea and Arsenal are always a big game as London’s leading sides meet, and Hayes is well aware of the challenge she and her team face on Sunday.

‘First of all, Arsenal are a top team,’ she explained. ‘They score more goals than any other team, their attacking play, their build-up play is exceptional. They’ve got players who have won major honours and they’ve proved that they’re always in and about the hunt for trophies every season.

‘I know for us it will be a huge test because derby games are not normal games. They’ll say the same in Manchester, there’s a lot at stake and a lot of unpredictability to the game. Both teams know each other inside and out and I have huge respect for Arsenal.’

There is added significance to this fixture in the current season too, as Chelsea versus Arsenal also brings the last two WSL champions head to head on the pitch, with both sides focused on the difficult task of maintaining their level of success.

‘This is an environment that demands the absolute best and it’s not easy to achieve that year on year. I always think that successive winning is the hardest thing to do in the world. Sometimes getting your first trophy or your first title is, but to do it again and again and again, that’s the hardest thing to achieve in sport. So to keep those motivations and those standards where they need to be, that self-accountability has to be of a tall order, otherwise you get complacent and in all my time that I’ve been here I do everything I can to make sure we don’t become that.’

One boost to Chelsea Women’s chances of reaching those ambitions arrived earlier this week with the news that captain Magdalena Eriksson has signed a contract extension with the club, something the Blues coach was clearly delighted with.

‘Magda’s been a wonderful servant and wonderful leader in her time here,’ added Hayes. ‘She’s growing all the time in her captaincy. I think her and Millie Bright have formulated a formidable defence this year and in their time here, not just in this league but around Europe.

‘Magda’s made no secret of her love for the club and equally from us for her, so it’s just given a boost to everyone around here knowing she’s committed another three years to the club.’